The unemployment rate shows little sign of improving anytime soon, and if you’re unfortunate enough to be one of those unemployment statistics, what should you do? City resident Leslie Jacobs thought she’d write a book about it, and the result, “Survival in the Unemployment Line: A Humorous Look at being Unemployed,” has taken amazon and other book outlets by storm!
“It’s a humorous look at unemployment, but contains lots of tips I learned from being unemployed,” said Jacobs, who wrote the book’s original manuscript during a mid-1990s bout of unemployment, then updated and published it after being laid off in 2008 from a job she’d held for eight years.
Some of the tips focus on financial survival, or ways to make extra cash despite the lack of an actual job. Among other things, Jacobs suggests seeing if you have any talents you can sell; artists seeking freelance graphic-design work, for example.
Jacobs has done this since before she lost her job; her small condo is meticulously neat and organised, and she’s had many friends and relatives praise her organisational skills, so eight years ago she started a part-time organising business for clients who need help reducing the clutter in their homes.
However, most of Jacobs’ tips deal with the emotional fallout of unemployment. “You really have to get up, take a shower and get dressed every morning,” she said. “If you don’t shower or shave, wear your pajamas all day, you’ll get depressed.”
Another bit of advice is to get out of your house — easier said than done when money is tight, but there are things to do which don’t cost money at all.
“Volunteering is one possibility,” Jacobs said. “The greatest thing I did was find Trinity-on-Main. As a volunteer I get to see the entertainment for free, but the best thing about it is meeting so many wonderful people. And who knows? Maybe a job will turn up. You never know. It’s all networking.” Other free activities include going to the library — free books to read, and Internet access for people who can’t afford it at home.
“You need to do something. Even if you only go outside for a walk, at least you’re doing something. And when you watch the news, hit the mute button when they talk about unemployment. It’ll only make you depressed.”
The book also mentions things people should not do while out of work: spend the day sleeping, get hooked on daytime TV, or play games on their computers (the book says “use it as a tool, not a game piece”).
By unemployed-person standards, Jacobs said, she is lucky: she bought her one-bedroom condo “at the right time” so that her mortgage payment is very low, and her unemployment benefits cover her basic necessities.
As Jacobs discussed all this, her cell phone rang. She looked at the screen and apologetically said “I have to take this.” While she chatted with the person on the other end, she also opened her laptop to quickly peruse her e-mail.
One message in her inbox made her smile. “Hey!” she said when the call ended. I applied for [a job] a couple weeks ago, and they just wrote back to say they like my resume and will contact me after the [application deadline]!”
That’s one tip Jacobs never thought to include in her book: write a book and give a newspaper interview about being unemployed, and maybe, if you’re lucky, the Law of Situational Irony will work in your favor.